What is Medicaid?

Medicaid is a program that helps millions of people in the U.S. pay for their healthcare.

Funded jointly by the Federal government and your state, Medicaid covers Americans (and certain legal aliens) of all ages,including children with special needs and their caregivers, pregnant women, the disabled, and elderly patients receiving care in their homes, nursing homes or in assisted living facilities.

Medicaid supplements your own health insurance, if you already have coverage, and will work alongside Medicare, if you are a senior or disabled person who is eligible for both.

Are You Eligible?

Medicaid is intended for low-income, low-asset users, and your state’s department of health and human services is responsible for reviewing your application, examining your income and assets, and deciding whether you are eligible for full or partial coverage.

This process can be very complex, and will consider many factors including your family situation, where you receive your care, and how your assets and income are to be treated.

Look Back to Move Forward

When you apply for Medicaid, you must already have met its income and asset requirements.

For Medicaid’s elderly and long-term care programs, 49 states and Washington, D.C. have a “look back” period of 60 months (five years) starting at the application date.

Any transfer of your assets within the look back period must meet Medicaid’s requirements.

50 States, 50 Rules

Each state has its own rules about what income and assets are exempt. You may be allowed to keep some income and savings, your home (up to a certain value), one car, and other assets such as some life insurance cash value and certain income-producing property. Any income or property that is over your state’s limits may result in a penalty, a period of ineligibility, or a complete disqualification.

The rules differ in each state and are very complex, so applicants should work with a trained counselor or legal professional when applying for coverage.